The 19th season of Major League Soccer began on Saturday afternoon in Seattle with a taut game between last season’s champion, Sporting Kansas City, and the hometown Sounders.

The match was decided in a frenzy with less than a minute left in stoppage time. Clint Dempsey’s header caromed off the crossbar and straight to Seattle newcomer, Chad Barrett, who calmly netted the game-winner.

Even if you haven’t been paying attention to MLS the last few years, a growing number of people have started to care. Really care.

But while individual MLS markets have developed strong loyal followings, it hasn't achieved a more general level of attention that the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball command.

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